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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

Holiday Wish Guide: Craftsman Extreme GRIP Tools - Perfect for Makers & DIYers (+ Win a Set!)

Craftsman CrewTHE ROCK FATHER has partnered with Sears as a paid member of the Craftsman Crew.

No matter how well the preparation has gone, the Holiday Season has not just "crept-up" on us, but has emerged swiftly and with unusual force this year. It's somewhat hard to get a grip on all the moving parts that go with a successful and stress-free season these days (14 variations on Thanksgiving, 79 versions of Xmas - you know how it is), but when it comes to gifting, I'm pretty good at picking what works, hence my annual Holiday Wish Guide. For me, this is a time for fixing up the place - but even more so, being ready for toys... specifically, always being ready to open the battery compartments on toys. Since just about everything takes batteries at this point (even things you wouldn't expect), I've encountered some tricky spots - spots where some good grip comes in handy. With the new Craftsman Extreme GRIP Lineup of tools, I'm well taken care of - and that's why I'm including them in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide. There's an Extreme GRIP tool for just about any application, and they're on-sale right now! A great gift idea, and a great asset to any toolbox - the perfect ally in the battle against rounded, stripped or just hard-to-grip fasteners.  Check out some Rock Father picks below, then enter to win a Craftsman Extreme GRIP 6-Piece Diamond Tip Screwdriver Set!

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Five Tips for Final Fall Clean-up & Preparing for the Snowpocalypse...

Craftsman CrewTHE ROCK FATHER has partnered with Sears as a paid member of the Craftsman Crew.

As I write these words to you right now, the cold November rain (GN'R reference) is coming down outside our home, the gutters overflowing and solid sheets of water running down the windows of my office. The harsh reality is that my favorite season will soon come to a close, with Fall making way to Winter. If the preliminary predictions are to be believed, winter 2015/16 in the U.S. is gonna be harsh - and that's saying something since we've lived through a bevy of Hoth-like conditions here in Northern Illinois during the past few winters. If previous years have brought forth those news-worthy catch phrases like "Snowmageddon," what's looming in the not-so-distant future might well be the Snowpocalypse, and we must be prepared. Thing is, we need to finish our Fall Clean-up to be ready for winter - and being prepared for both will help everyone get back to normal come Spring, and getting our lawn and garden ready for a new year of fresh growth is something I'm always looking forward to.  My friends at Craftsman have all the tools to get you through every season, and to help bridge Fall and Winter, I'm throwing down five helpful tips!

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Fall Yard Clean-up with the Toro UltraPlus Blower Vac

When my wife and I bought this house a few years back, one of the first things I bought for the yard was a Toro Blower Vac from The Home Depot. The corded blower vac saw a ton of action - spring and summer finding it used as a blower-only, for post-mowing cleanup, while Fall saw it transform into vac mode to help with the leaves that one would expect from an Illinois autumn. For 2015, Toro has upped their game the the new UltraPlus Blower Vac - one of which arrived here for review in my own State-of-the-Art Testing facility: Rock Father HQ. With the leaves having begun to fall here at home, it was time to go hands-on to see how the latest model matches up against my trusty old Fall friend.

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31 Days of Halloween: Behold the Power of the Crane Horribles!

This October, there's something new and strange that's emerged - eagerly awaiting the chance to lurk in your home... especially, your child's bedroom. Chip the Robot and Zeke the Martian are joining Jax the Dreadful and Scarlett the Frightful as the Horribles - a new line of Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers that are available exclusively at Best Buy. For families looking for something more fun (and a little more spooky) than a traditional humidifier, these adorable character-shaped units each have a 1 gallon capacity to handle humidification for up to 250 sq. ft. - providing ultrasonic cool mist to reduce cold symptoms and nasal congestion for easy breathing. Each member of the Horribles also features Clean Control antimicrobial technology to ensure safe, clean operation. The Horribles by Crane USA are today's entry into 31 Days of Halloween, right here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine!

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Back-to-School: 10 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe

With Back-to-School Season upon us, it's time for a refresher on some helpful tips to keep kids safe throughout the school year. Miriam Sonenschein of RubberMulch checks-in with a guest post featuring 10 Tips for Back-to-School safety, covering everything from walking to school to handling strangers and safety in school and on the playground.

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Garden: Beware The Hogweed... for it will harm you

I'd been meaning to share some words on this one for awhile, but its discovery in Michigan today (and recently being officially outlawed in Illinois) gave me a hearty reminder: Beware The Hogweed.  This gigantic, invasive and highly poisonous oddity first popped-up here in Lake County, Illinois back in 2006, with plants found in Lake Forest. It's a weed with a ton of lookalikes - the 15' Hogweed is almost like a Queen Anne's Lace that's scaled to dinosaur size. It's prickly stalk helps spread sap that can cause blindness, or extremely painful blistering, itching burns that are activated by sunlight. Having already seen it pop-up in other states throughout the Midwest this summer, I'm helping to share the word here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine in hopes that those who encounter this dangerous plant will know to stay away, and alert the proper authorities to help eradicate it. Embedded below are a couple of videos that you need to watch - but be warned that images of the burns may be disturbing for some. The University of Illinois also has some helpful materials that are worth a read, and while this story is certainly picking up steam, you can take comfort in knowing that while Hogweed is spreading, it is still a very rare plant.

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